Apple iCloud users in China should be aware that their iCloud data is being moved to the servers of China Telecom, a state-owned telecommunications firm.
Apple’s transition of the data from its own U.S.-based servers to local servers on Chinese soil has raised significant concern among observers who worry that the change will grant the Chinese government easier access to sensitive information. Before a switch announced earlier this year, all encryption keys for Chinese users were stored in the U.S. which meant authorities needed to go through the U.S. legal system to request access to information. Now the situation is based on Chinese courts and a gatekeeper that’s owned by the government.
Privacy advocates will definitely be up in arms about the move, as they earlier this year warned of privacy concerns associated with Apple’s decision to move Chinese users’ iCloud data to servers on mainland China.
While privacy advocates have many concerns about the transfer, Apple says the move was required if it wanted to continue to operate iCloud and other services inside China.
Apple claimed back in January that the move would allow it to improve the speed and reliability of iCloud services in China, but assured customers that no backdoors have been created in any of its systems.
Apple transferred the data to GCBD cloud services in February, after warning customers of the move the month before. Both the user data and crypto keys that protect the data were transferred to Chinese-owned servers.